25 May 2008

Ukulele! 4: Stress Cracks

The plan (?!) was to reuse/recycle parts and pieces left from last year's guitar experiment. This mini-plank...
...was my first attempt, a proof-of-concept “guitar.” A minimalist affair, a piece of walnut strung with four lengths of fishing line, four nails act as the tailpiece, four fisheye screws for tuning pegs, a threaded bolt for a bridge, a scrap of walnut for the nut and frets pencilled in (the above photo is the back sans any of the described installed) And the ancient Greeks were right: strangely enough it worked. Not the most beautiful-sounding nor -looking guitar but nevertheless functional.

Since my plank guitar was around 20cm long, i figured i could easily get my ukulele's neck out of it. So goodbye plank, hello uke neck.

Since this was to be my 23,546th time to not think things out, i cut the 17° scarf joint and glued the head to the neck yesterday, giving it around 24 hours to set. I don't know if you can see from the above photo but, to avoid splinters while playing, i'd rounded the back sides. Cutting a scarf joint from such a rounded piece of wood leads to a peghead with...uhmm, channels. Ah, no problem, i've got a can of wood putty to fill in the recesses. In any case, being a ukulele, there's going to be minimal force exerted by the strings on the head anyway.

Everything clamped, i started to form out the neck anyway. I was making good progress, enjoying the nice weather up on the roof, wood curls whizzing around. About 80-90% there, i'd noticed a stress crack in the wood...

Apologies about the blurry photo. The Nokia doesn't handle
semi-extreme close-ups very well.

...right in the neck wood. Not the jointed head side but the neck. I was thinking, among many other things, Super Attak (cyanoacrylate) the bad boy but...i don't know. I just had to test it.

Here you can see not only the cracked headstock but the rounded back
in the scarf joint. At least i got some sun today!

It gave with minimal force applied. What to do what to do what to do? I'm analyzing the situation at this very moment. I'm “thinking” that i could probably graft on another peghead. Therefore i should just finish the neck and continue on.

And speaking of stress cracks, Happy Birthday, Mommy! Hee hee!!! That was a joke, Ma! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Ma, I love you!

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